Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Mike Henry, says two codes of practice for the protection of persons with disabilities have been completed.
He said development of the codes, which cover employment, and education and training, is in keeping with a commitment given by late Minister, Hon. Shahine Robinson.
Minister Henry said that two more codes of practice for healthcare and health facilities, and public passenger vehicles, will be developed by the end of the 2020/2021 financial year.
Minister Henry, who was making his contribution to the 2020/21 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on July 21, said that the codes of practice will ensure that the rights of persons with disabilities are safeguarded and upheld, and are necessary steps for implementation of the Disabilities Act.
The legislation makes provisions to safeguard and enhance the welfare of persons with disabilities across Jamaica. It protects and promotes the equal rights of the disabled and prohibits discrimination against them.
Meanwhile, Mr. Henry said the Abilities Foundation and the Jamaica Foundation for Persons with Disabilities have been working to ensure the inclusion, empowerment and integration of the disabled community in Jamaica.
He informed that last year, 103 persons benefited from training at the Abilities Foundation, with 37 graduates receiving competences in beauty services, data operations, design and décor, housekeeping, and furniture making.
Sixteen of the graduates were placed in a six-month empowerment programme for persons with intellectual disabilities, with another six trainees engaged in a three-week summer internship.
“Permanent employment was secured for several graduates, which underscores the fact that persons with disabilities can positively contribute to Jamaica’s economic activity and must be included in the workforce,” Mr. Henry said.
“The United States Embassy and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) have partnered with us on a $5.9-million project, which empowered women with disabilities, enabling 20 of them to be trained in furniture making and agriculture,” he added.
Also in the 2019/2020 financial year, 664 persons with disabilities benefited from allocations under the Economic Empowerment Grants and Assistive Aids Grants.